AF Association
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Ablation concerns

Hello all

I'm fairly new to the site but have been reading everyone's stories and questions with great interest. I have just been put on the waiting list for an ablation using a freezing method. Has anyone else had this done and what do you think? I am in the UK and the procedure will be done at the Trent Cardiac Unit, Nottingham.

I was diagnosed with AF around six years ago but believe it actually started many more years ago when I was in my early 30s. I'm now 67 and the AF episodes are occurring every 9 to 14 days and lasting from 15 to 36 hours (usually around 24). Sotalol, Flecainide and Drondedarone have all failed but I'm still worried about the ablation.

Would welcome any advice or opinions please.

Not sure I can use the site properly as I tried to post this as a question but nothing was happening - either that or someone, somewhere will see the same question several times.

Thank very much.

11 Replies

Sabina, Welcome to the forum...

I did not have the Cryo-Ablation but I know many who have. It is basically the same procedure except that they use freezing instead of the RF radiation to cause the burn. Also they can "test Freeze" an area to see if it helps and then complete the freeze. I have read quite a few reports that state a higher success rate using this procedure. The procedure and recovery itself is pretty much the same as a standard ablation.

Here is a pretty good article on the procedure:

Hope this helps and we are looking forward to hearing from you. Keep us up to date as you go.



Thanks very much for replying and for your explanation.. You seem to have done well after your ablation so hopefully, mine will go as well when it's done. I will try not to "chicken out" at the last minute as the waiting list is around four months so plenty of time to get worked up. I also have to start on Warfarin when I hear from the clinic. I'm currently on aspirin. bisoprolol and dronedarone so now is the time to change the aspirin for Warfarin.

Will let you know how things progress.



Hi Sabina and welcome to the mad house.. Ablation is still quite new science (twenty years maybe) and techniques are improving all the time. I had my first in 2006 followed by two more in '7 and '8 but have been basically AF free ever since so am a great advocate of the procedure. Yes there are risks as in any invasive procedure and recovery can take much longer than people expect.. It takes three months for the scar tissue which blocks the rogue impulses to from so a lot of odd things will possibly happen during the healing period. Doctors HAVE to tell you all the bad things which could happen or you might sue them. Mine listed death as the worst thing that could happen so I asked him when he last killed somebody. He looked quite shocked and replied that he hadn't so I told him to put me on the list for the week after he did so I knew he would be more careful. LOL That set the tone for our relationship which has endured to this day!

Has it all been worth it? YES for sure and I would go again if needed and the docs were prepared to try..



Thanks for your reply and reassurance Bob.

The list of potential things that could go wrong sounded very scary and I'm sure we all used to be less worried before doctors had to tell us about them. I'm more apprehensive as I know sometimes things do go wrong as I had a relative who died following a bleed after an angioplasty. I know it's a totally different procedure but that doesn't help.



I had an ablation 3 weeks ago, there was no pain, and although it lasted 4.5 hours it seemed like 4.5 minutes. I was very scared before the procedure, but once it was over i felt fine. I was a bit drained for a week after, but now i am completly back to normal. Its a bit offputting when they tell you everything that could go wrong, but the fear of the ablation is far worse than the actual procedure.



Thanks very much Martin for your reply and for sharing your experience.

You and others seem to have had a good experience with the ablation procedure so I'm hoping mine goes as well. I will be having a general anaesthetic so at least, won't know anything at all. Have been warned to expect to take a week to recover from the effects of the anaestheic.

It's just a waiting game now but will let you all know when I get a date and how I get on. Good luck with your continued recovery.



Like you, I KNOW I had AF for many more years than suspected when a diagnosis was finally made. It was only when attacks were as frequent and as long-lasting (even longer before the ablation actually happened, sometimes more than 48 hrs) as yours that I got my ablation. My 'man' uses cryo, and swears by it. I'm about to have my third procedure in a couple of weeks and he says this should finally sort me out. (To be fair, it seems that antibiotics during a bout of pneumonia earlier this year has triggered the latest AF problems) I feel fine after each procedure, just tired from the anaesthetic. Once that is out of my system, I'm amazed at how much better I feel than before. While the AF hasn't been treated, it can affect you more than you realise, even when you aren't symptomatic.

Don't 'chicken out'; have the ablation and you'll be so glad you did! Good luck.


Hello Geordielass

Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I'm hoping to have a good success from the 1st attempt but the doc did explain that only around 60% are totally successful the 1st time. He said he didn't want to give false hope as he didn't believe in that. He also said that he felt the cryo ablation didn't cause as many problems during the procedure and didn't take quite so long.

Hope your third attempt is 100% successful. Good luck.



Currently I'm in the same situation as you Sabrina , I had been advised to have ablation to solve m y frequent AF scary attacks since twelve years

I got a list of risks for the ablation from my doctor report which left me scared and I'm currently trying to get the discussion and compare my suffering right now with 95 % success as my doctor mentioned

I read already all replies and I'm happy all experiences were successful hope yours also


Thank you for your reply and support Maitha. I'm sorry you're having such problems at the moment having just read your more recent post.

Hope you soon feel better and I hope your ablation goes well when you have it. Do you have long to wait? I was concerned about the list of potential problems that could occur but there are always a list of risks involved with anything medical nowadays and they have to be explained in detail. It would be good if the doctors stressed the successful stories as well.

Hope you'll let us know how you get on.



Hi Sabina,

I didn't have the cryo, I had the radiation type but I have been symptom free for 4 years now. It can be quite a worrying prospect but honestly - the worst bit is the local anesthetic! My first one didn't work but the second one a few months later did and it is like I have my life back. As you say, there are always risks involved with any medical procedure, even somehting as simple as going to the dentist, but the doctors have to explain the worst case scenario so that you are aware but problems are very rare indeed. Try not to worry and look forward to the positive results and having your life back.



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